Just this week I heard a neighbor say she cannot wait for July in Minnesota to be over because she likes to walk and it is too hot and sticky for that now. The first thing I thought of was how can anyone complain about summer in Minnesota after such a long winter? That same day at Target I heard a young mom tell her friend she cannot wait for her kids to be out of diapers, and her friend replied she cannot wait for her kids to be out of daycare. Now I know these moms are probably just cash
strapped and tired, and I remember those days well, but it made me think how often we use this phrase to wish our time away. I have done it many times myself, but as I get older I realize how time flies.
The days fly by, the months fly by, and the years when my kids were in diapers flew by. Their years in school are now a blur. As Benjamin Franklin said, “life’s tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.” Ben Franklin was so wise! We too often wish our lives away without appreciating each unique and wonderful time, whether it is the season of the year or the place in our life. I have made it a point to be present and to enjoy and make the most of where I am not only physically, but where I am in my life and career. I have learned that attitude is everything.
I have learned to appreciate each season. I love our summers especially now living on the water, but I also like it when the season turns cool and the leaves change. I love putting on a plaid shirt and long pants after a long hot summer and walking among the changing leaves. I like a warm fire in the outdoor fire ring on a cool crisp October evening. I like pulling out the Christmas decorations in December and the smell of the house when I bake Christmas treats.
We have such distinct seasons, and I know if I was not in Minnesota I would miss those dramatic changes. I have plenty to keep me busy in the dark cold winter months, especially as a writer. It is a lot easier to try to work on those novels when the lake is frozen over and my kayaks and paddle board are all stored for the winter. I also think I would grow weary of my water sports if I could do them year round. Maybe I just think that because I don’t live in California. But as the lake melts in the spring and the sun becomes brighter and icicles can be seen through the windows, melting from their tight grip on the shingles of our roof, I become excited for the warmth of spring and the possibilities that spring holds for the garden and our outdoor biking and hiking.
I enjoyed my college years even though I distinctly remember thinking how nice it would be to be done and not have to study for any more exams. I was wishing those free and fun loving years away and as much as I wanted to be done, I clearly liked the challenge of education, because I later continued on to law school for more exams and more challenges, and in hindsight theyears sped by leaving me with some of the best friends and memories ever.
My years starting a career and making a name for myself in the legal community was challenging and fun, and as much as I tried to embrace the challenges, I have to admit that I sometimes dreaded the tedious work. I have to say however, that the part I embraced most was the extreme high of a job well done and an appreciative client, accomplished by either a win in the courtroom or in negotiating the best possible outcome in a bad situation.
I loved it when my kids were babies, even though I was tired a lot. They were so cuddly, and I loved it later when they could talk and run and they were fun to take to the zoo, the fair and on vacation. We ate ice cream and we made faces at giraffes. They were easy to please in those years with lots of energy and hugs. However, I also liked the teenage years. They had good ideas and some bad ones, but they were fun to talk with, most of the time. They also needed their space to grow, think and just be with their own friends. I appreciated and tried to respect their need to be able to express their own opinions as they grew into adulthood.
Our empty nest years are just starting and this simpler way of life, at the peak of our careers is easy to enjoy. We have money to travel and time to enjoy life. We have done our careers long enough that we are good at it and it is less stressful. We are both in careers where gray hair is a positive thing, in that experience, age and wisdom are all appreciated and sought after. That is a good thing.
I have tried my best at appreciating what I have and where I am, but with age has come wisdom, to truly embrace my days and embrace my life. I have worked hard for what I have, but I have also been very fortunate and I know that. I appreciate each day and I like sunny days as well as those cozy, lightning filled stormy days of pouring rain. I have learned to cherish my time and spend less time on things I do not enjoy. Don’t wish your life away. Life flies by fast enough. Time is precious and our life is precious. This is the most important wisdom that has come with age. Your little problems of yesterday fade quickly in the days and months that pass. Respect your time on this earth and cherish each season and each stage of life. Embrace each day and embrace the joy of your life.